Weekend Box Office: 'Kong: Skull Island' Scales $61M for No. 1 Finish. Overseas, the reboot debuts to $81.6 million for a global bow of $142.6 million; 'Logan' falls to No. 2 as it races past $150 million in the U.S. and $430 million Worldwide
- Warner Bros. and Legendary's Kong: Skull Island roared louder than expected in its North American box office debut, scaling $61 million from 3,846 theaters to beat Wolverine threequel Logan.
Kong hopes to restore the world's most famous ape to glory and build a new film franchise, with a Kong v. Godzilla already in the works. The one major caveat: The movie, costing at least $185 million to make before a major marketing spend, will likely need to earn $500 million globally to land in the black. Overseas, Kong: Skull Island opened to $81.6 million from 65 markets — minus China, where it hits theaters March 24 — for a global bow of $142.6 million. It scored the biggest opening of all time in Vietnam ($2.2 million), where chaos ensued at the movie's premiere late last week after a huge model of the primate outside the theater caught on fire. Heading into the weekend, the male-fueled Kong was expected to earn $45 million-$50 million in the U.S.. Crossing the $60 million threshold is no doubt a big relief for Warners and Legendary. Kong is the second title in their monster universe after Godzilla, which debuted to $93 million in May 2014. That film ultimately earned $529 million worldwide against a production budget of $160 million. "On these kind of movies that have big Fridays you would expect to be down on Saturday. We were up 19 percent," said Warners president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein. "We ended up in a fantastic place compared to where we thought we would be. The marketing came together in a huge way."
Kong, boasting a 78 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is the first Hollywood studio movie featuring the iconic ape since Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong, which opened to $50 million. (Jackson's film was infamous for costing north of $200 million.) Skull Island garnered strong reviews for a 78 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes; audiences were less keen, awarding it a B+ CinemaScore. This time out, the story is set entirely on the island where the animal resides alongside a bevy of other oversized creatures. Skull Island, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts in his first studio assignment, is set in 1973 at the end of the Vietnam War, when a government agent assembles a team to investigate the mysterious, fog-shrouded locale. The ensemble cast includes Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson and John Goodman. Kong faces the challenge of being sandwiched between Logan — which debuted to a rousing $88.3 million domestically and nearly $250 million worldwide a week ago, far ahead of expectations — and Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which opens around the globe on March 17. In particular, the Kong team didn't expect Logan to have such sharp claws (both tentpoles are competing for males). Like Logan, Kong did big business in Imax theaters, or $7.6 million in North America and $12.4 million worldwide. Falling to No. 2, Logan grossed an estimated $37.9 million for a decline of 57 percent, a good showing for a fanboy-driven title. The R-rated movie, costing just under $100 million to produce, has earned nearly $152.7 million domestically and $285 million overseas for a stellar $437.7 globally. Logan's weekend foreign take of $70 million wasn't that far behind Kong. Logan has the advantage of a China berth, where it has scored $87.6 million in its first two weekends. Kong's international bow exceeded Godzilla's in many markets. The U.K. led with $7.6 million, 17 percent ahead of Godzilla, followed by Korea ($7.4 million), Russia ($60 million) and Mexico ($5.6 million).
Jordan Peele's maverick horror film Get Out continued to scare up strong business for Universal and Blumhouse domestically, placing No. 3 with an impressive $21 million in its third weekend and jumping the $100 million mark for a total $111.1 million through Sunday. Get Out cost under $5 million to make. Lionsgate's faith-based title The Shack, starring Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington, landed at No. 4 in its second weekend, dipping 38 percent to $10.1 million for a domestic total of $32.3 million. Warners' The Lego Batman Movie rounded out the top five with $7.8 million in its fifth weekend for $159 million domestically and $275.5 million worldwide. Among new offerings at the specialty box office, IFC's Personal Shopper, directed by French filmmaker Olivier Assayas and starring Kristen Stewart, debuted to $92,516 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a screen average of $23,129, the best of the weekend for any title. Filmmaker Ritesh Batra's The Sense of an Ending, starring Charlotte Rampling and Jim Broadbent, also debuted in four cinemas in N.Y. and L.A., earning $42,000 for a theater average of $10,500 for CBS Films. The latest documentary to take on the Church of Scientology didn't fare so well. My Scientology Movie, from BBC journalist Louis Theroux, took in $10,568 from the ArcLight Hollywood — which isn't far from the church's Hollywood outpost and celebrity center — for a disappointing average of $5,284. Among other prestige titles, A24's Moonlight fell to $1 million from 987 locations after scoring the top number of its run ($2.3 million) a week ago from 1,564 theaters after winning the Oscar for best picture. The drop-off in earnings and theater count isn't a surprise since Moonlight is already available on home entertainment. To date, the film's theatrical cume is $27 million. March 12, 10:30 a.m. Updated with foreign numbers.